Last season on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jacqueline Laurita dealt with her son Nicholas' autism, a storyline that many moms found all too relatable.
Since her little boy was diagnosed, Jacqueline and her husband Chris have tried different therapies to help him. One recent success was the company Pleygo, a Netflix-like service where families can rent different LEGO toy sets for their child to play with.
"I know that playing with LEGOS is something that my son, Nick, and I both enjoy doing together that enhances a connection between us," the mom of three shared with In Touch.
Pleygo, in partnership with Generation Rescue, a nonprofit that supports families affected by autism, is collecting LEGO bricks to help them build out their sets – and they're offering a free one month membership to anyone who donates. Check out the donation info here.
Although Jacqueline has since left Housewives to spend more time with Nick, she tells In Touch that she doesn't regret making his autism part of her storyline because it helped so many other people who were going through the same things.
"People that aren’t going through [autism] don’t understand it," she said. "I love having the opportunity to be able to show people because honestly, what’s given me strength is listening to everyone else’s stories, their struggles, their successes. That’s what gives us hope and strength, so if I can do that for someone else, then that feels so good to me."
And although they sometimes argue onscreen, Jacqueline says that her fellow Housewives have been extremely supportive when it came to Nick's diagnosis and treatment. "They send me links to things that could help him. Like, I do a lot of researching so they come up with a contact. They know this person who has this child so they help me in that way. Pretty much everyone sends me things they learn. They all send me leads and it’s nice like that."
Jacqueline also adds that despite its challenges, their son's autism has also brought her and Chris closer together as they try to 'recover' their son.
"We work together as a team very well. We both know our roles in Nick's recovery and we established our roles at the beginning of our son's diagnosis. We both have the same goal to recover Nicholas and help as many others as we can. We travel together to speak at conferences and events to support each other and help others by sharing our story. We give each other strength when the other is feeling weak."